A string of New York cabs await their next fare. GPS was just a component of a more comprehensive system that included credit/debit card acceptance, both passenger and driver info screens. *AFP Photo
A string of New York cabs await their next fare. GPS was just a component of a more comprehensive system that included credit/debit card acceptance, both passenger and driver info screens. *AFP Photo

GPS was enforced in New York City to stop taxi drivers from ripping off passengers.

And since the installation of the tracking systems in the city’s 13,237 cabs, there have already been successful prosecutions for fraud.

However, cabbies initially opposed the introduction of GPS, citing the cost and an invasion of privacy.

The New York Taxi Workers Alliance even staged a two-day strike in September, 2007.

Since then however, drivers have taken on the technology, leading to a more efficient service, according to Allan Fromberg, a spokesman for the NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission.

Mr Fromberg told the Bermuda Sun: “The systems started being installed in the summer of 2007, and we reached 100 per cent implementation in November 2008.

“It (GPS) did indeed help us to get to the bottom of a problem we had with some drivers using an inappropriate taxi metre rate code to charge a higher out-of-town fare while still within the city’s limits.  

Guilty drivers

“It was crucially important in the process of prosecuting the guilty drivers.”

On the question of whether GPS has improved the level of customer service, Mr Fromberg said: “Unquestionably. Also, it has yielded much statistical usage data that has helped us and our sister municipal agencies, such as our Department of Transportation, to make policy that has helped the city to move more efficiently.

“GPS was just a component of a more comprehensive system that included credit/debit card acceptance, both passenger and driver info screens, and two-way messaging capability between us and drivers.

“So the larger answer is that both drivers and passengers benefited from the acceptance of cards… more than 50 per cent of all rides are paid for by cards now. As for GPS alone, it’s been invaluable in helping us to reunite passengers with their lost property, which is a big problem here. 

“More than half of the calls we get are lost property reports.”